Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Joel E. Kostka; David J. Weston; Jennifer B. Glass; Erik A. Lilleskov; A. Jonathan Shaw; Merritt Turetsky
    Date: 2016
    Source: New Phytolgist. 211(1): 57-64.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (943.0 KB)


    Peat mosses of the genus Sphagnum play a major role in global carbon storage and dominate many northern peatland ecosystems, which are currently being subjected to some of the most rapid climate changes on Earth.Arapidly expanding database indicates that a diverse community of microorganisms is intimately associated with Sphagnum, inhabiting the tissues and surface of the plant. Here we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the Sphagnum microbiome and provide a perspective for future research directions. Although the majority of the microbiome remains uncultivated and its metabolic capabilities uncharacterized, prokaryotes and fungi have the potential to act as mutualists, symbionts, or antagonists of Sphagnum. For example, methanotrophic and nitrogen-fixing bacteria may benefit the plant host by providing up to 20–30% of Sphagnum carbon and nitrogen, respectively. Next-generation sequencing approaches have enabled the detailed characterization of microbiome community composition in peat mosses. However, as with other ecologically or economically important plants, our knowledge of Sphagnum–microbiome associations is in its infancy. In order to attain a predictive understanding of the role of the microbiome in Sphagnum productivity and ecosystem function, the mechanisms of plant–microbiome interactions and the metabolic potential of constituent microbial populations must be revealed.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Kostka, Joel E.; Weston, David J.; Glass, Jennifer B.; Lilleskov, Erik A.; Shaw, A. Jonathan; Turetsky, Merritt, R. 2016. The Sphagnum microbiome: new insights from an ancient plant lineage. New Phytolgist. 211(1): 57-64.


    Google Scholar


    bacteria, fungi, methanotroph, microbiome, nitrogen fixation, peatland, plant growth promotion, Sphagnum

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page